Since the 13th century Chelmno has cultivated academic tradition. It was here where a municipal school as well as Dominican, Franciscan, Cistercian and later Benedictine convent schools were located. In order to continue their study the youth of Chelmno used to go to Paris, Bologna, Prague or Frankfurt. Chelmno was given a right to establish a university twice: for the first time the right was granted by Pope Urban VI in 1386 and for the second time by Sigismund of Luxemburg the Roman emperor in 1434. That made creating the second centre of this sort in Poland possible – the first being the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. Unfortunately, those ambitious plans have never been realized.
However, in 1473 Studium Particulare – a high school – was established. It was managed by the Brethren of the Common Life from Zwolle in the Netherlands. In a very short time it became the best scientific institution in Royal Prussia. Historians claim that most probably Nicolaus Copernicus just before going on to study at the Krakow University had been one of the pupils of this famed at that time school. The high school was closed in 1530 and reactivated in 1554, later to become the Chelmno Academy in 1692. In 1756-1779 the Academy gained the status of the 31st colony of the Krakow Jagiellonian University. The existence of the school was endangered as a result of the 1st partitioning of Poland. In the end it was closed in 1818. In 1837 another school was created – today’s High School No. 1.
Nowadays the youngest inhabitants of the city can start their first education in one of the five Chelmno’s kindergartens. Also, there are four primary and four secondary schools for older children and teenagers.
The High School No. 1 is situated in the historic building of the Chelmno Academy. In 1999 a new gym was added – the gymnasium is also used as a city’s sports hall.
The High School No. 2 together with the sports facilities is located in the building at 11 Kosciuszki St., the building which has always played an educational role since the time of its creation in 1907.
The Special Education Centre consisting of a primary school, a secondary school and a hall of residence educates and rehabilitates children from the city, the neighboring districts and children sent there by law courts. The Special Education Centre works on the rehabilitation of severely disabled children from the Home for Handicapped Children in Chelmno. The Centre provides commuting children with 24-hour accommodation and care. Also, there is an advisory point for parents of children requiring special attention.
A tradition of convent schools run by clergymen is maintained by the Pallotines. They manage the Catholic Secondary School Gymnasium Culmense and the High School Colegium Culmense. The youth of Chelmno has a choice of vocational high schools as well as schools preparing for university studies. The School Complex No. 1 includes the Secondary School No. 4 with sports classes and the Copernicus High School No. 1. The Mickiewicz School Complex No. 2 includes: the Technical Colleges of Mechanics, Business and Economics, a high school and the Vocational School for Juvenile Workers. During winter and summer holidays there is a Seasonal Youth Hostel attached to the school.
In nearby Grubno there is a school complex – Ignacy Luskowski’s Practical Education Centre with a high school and technical colleges: an agricultural college, an agro-business college, an economics college, a dietary and household college, a vocational and hotel college, a supplementary college based on the agricultural school and a supplementary high school together with a basic vocational school. There are also extramural and vocational courses offered in the school complex.
The Public Music School of the 1st degree in Chelmno teaches children and teenagers in 6- or 4-year cycles preparing them to continue their education in music schools of the 2nd degree. Pupils can develop their skills in terms of playing keyboard, string and wind instruments. It is also possible to learn to play such instruments in the Artistic Centre attached to the music school. Adults can supplement their knowledge in the Education Centre for Adults situated in Dominikanska St. and in the Centre for Vocational Development in Grudziacka St.